The Dragonfly series concept from Deep Space Industries over which Bradford has acquired control
Photo: Deep Space Industries
The future of one of Luxembourg’s newspace companies, Deep Space Industries (DSI), is secure for now, according to the firm which has acquired it.
DSI announced that US-owned space systems manufacturers Bradford Space Group had acquired control over the firm. No details were provided over the terms of the acquisition. Bradford has offices in the Netherlands and Sweden.
Contacted by Delano, managing director Patrick van Put wrote on Monday that the acquisition meant, “We will keep the activities as defined, with an intend [sic] to grow the activities based on a sensible business plan. The latter will be in preparation for the first quarter of 2019.”
DSI was founded in the US in 2012 to conduct space exploration missions using small spacecraft and innovative propulsion systems. According to the Luxembourg economy ministry, it established a European branch in Luxembourg in 2015 and was registered at the Technoport in Belval. No details could be found about the number of staff employed in Luxembourg.
DSI was among the first of around 20 newspace firms to settle or be created in Luxembourg after the launch of the Spaceresources.lu initiative in 2016, aimed at creating an ecosystem for mining space resources. Another early Luxembourg recruit, Planetary Resources, in which the Luxembourg state was a shareholder, was acquired by ConsenSys in November 2018.
The latest acquisition was apparently a strategic move to increase Bradford’s US presence. It said in a statement on the DSI website that it would “provide an outlet and location for activities in the US space market.”
The buyer was also sold on the water-based electrothermal propulsion system, known as Comet, and which is currently used on four systems on spacecraft in orbit.
Bradford itself develops green propulsion systems, ECAPs, which are used on some 15 spacecraft, the firm said.
In a comment to Space News, Bradford Space director Ian Fichtenbaum said he would not rule out space mining as a long-term aspiration. “For commercial asteroid mining, we are not people who sneer at its prospects,” he was quoted as saying. He added: “We believe it has a real future and want to see if DSI’s Comet and Xplorer as well as Bradford’s existing activities can play a part of that future.” He added, though, that “for now we are taking things step by step.”